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July 09, 2006

Comments

Chris M.

"...and accepting that the more a blogger talks about the heresy of their views, the more orthodox they probably are..."

Hey, I don't think "Darkseid is mostly lame" is fanboy orthodoxy -- the rest of comics blogland can't stop lovin' on the guy. But that said, I'll endeavor to tune down the preemptive dread next time (and in most instances you're probably right about the orthodoxy effect).

You make a good case for Darkseid, but I think you hit it on the head with your Joker comparison -- he's just been used too often and poorly. If you used Darkseid to his full effect once or twice a decade, he'd be the stuff of legend -- I just don't think he works as well as a traditional regularly-occurring supervillain. I also think you're right that he's a villain who probably works better as part of a more traditional, contained narrative where he can have a proper ending.

Mark Simmons

In addition to Thanos and Mongul, there are a couple other of those "more fleeting and forgettable imitators" who come to mind. I don't know much about the X-Men villain Apocalypse, but he sure looks the part, and the name rings a bell too. And then there's Baron Karza from the old Micronauts comic, which in hindsight was just chock-full of New Gods homages.

Anyways, thanks for the nice Darkseid thoughts. Like any great comics character he can be cheapened by overexposure, but his best moments are pretty fab. :-)

Marc

I knew there were other Darkseid knockoffs, but they proved so fleeting and forgettable that I couldn't recall any of them. At least Starlin crafted some memorable ones.

Mark Schepp

The definitive Darkseid quote:

"I have taken way their confusion and replaced it with obediance. I have taken away their fear of themselves and given them a fear of Darkseid. I have liberated them from the chaos of indecision. I have given them one straight path! One purpose! One goal: TO DIE FOR DARKSEID!"

From Morrison's Rock of Ages storyline.

-Mark

Dave Van Domelen

I think another reason why Darkseid is so often ill-used is that writers just don't GET the idea of the Anti-Life Equation. It's not about death, or about annihilation, or nullification. It's about the subsumation of the wills of all under the will of one. The Nietzschean Will To Life being snuffed out, while the biological processes continue to run.

The Anti-Life Equation would not make Darkseid or anyone else cease to be (a minor flaw in the JLU finale). It would make all wills DARKSEID'S will. Which is a far darker form of anti-life than mere death, for it can not in any sense be considered an escape.

Marc

Thanks for the spoiler warning, Dave! It's almost two months old, I know, but I missed the finale while we were up here working on the house... I knew I should have emailed Pete weeks ago... fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Dave Van Domelen, you're my Anti-Life Equation!

Getting back to Ol' Stone Face, I think Walt Simonson understood the Anti-Life Equation pretty well, though I didn't especially care for the execution of that Orion story. I seem to recall Rick Veitch handling it well in Swamp Thing. And Morrison has gotten it right a couple of times, most recently in Seven Soldiers.

David Van Domelen

Oops, sorry. Does this mean I get to control your will?

Anyway, yeah, Simonson did seem to get the ALE reasonably well too, but the series in general was pretty lackluster.

Marc

Does this mean I get to control your will?

Or you've snuffed out my will to live. Or I need to find you before the son I bartered away to my greatest enemy kills me. It's complicated.

Dave Intermittent

Don't forget Starlin's Dreadstar baddie, the High Lord Papal; the more civilized of his large-browed Darkseid analogues.

David Van Domelen

I considered bringing Papal up, but he's gotten too diluted. He doesn't really have the sort of hook that Darkseid or Thanos have. He's just an ambitious politician who's managed to claw his way to the top at the expense of his soul (maybe). He even turns kinda good later on (albeit in Peter David's hands, a generation after the original series).

"She's not stupid, she's not a cow, and *I'll* unhand you."

Garth "gwalla" Wallace

Mongul at least had his moment, in Alan Moore's "What Do You Get For the Man Who Has Everything?". Two moments, if you count the JLU adaptation of that story. But two moments aren't much.

Darkseid is basically what every sociopath thinks of himself as. And yeah, the Anti-Life Equation is control (a lot of people have interpreted it as chaos, which seems to be far from what Kirby was getting at—Darkseid uses chaos, but it isn't his goal—or, worse, as making things go 'splode).

Sure he's been overused, and used poorly. But he manages to be intimidating even while wearing a vinyl miniskirt. You have to respect a guy who can pull that off.

Josh

"Darkseid is a character who was supposed to have a finite arc, an ending . . . " I remember having very much liked "The Quiet Darkness" (TMB Legion) for just that reason.

alex orzeck-byrnes

no darth vader?

Marc

Already being covered.

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